Earlier this month, NCCOS scientist Suzanne Bricker and aquaculture business specialist Matt Parker, Bricker’s project partner from the University of Maryland Extension, gave a presentation on oyster best management practices (BMPs) at the 44th Annual East Coast Commercial Fishermen’s and Aquaculture Trade Expo Seminar in Ocean City, Maryland.
The presentation included an update on the Chesapeake Bay Program Oyster Expert BMP Panel’s recommendations for using oysters to address required nutrient reductions for Chesapeake Bay, and highlighted the nutrient bioextraction potential of six Maryland oyster farms in the bay that Bricker and Parker have sampled monthly since May 2016.
The researchers also reviewed how water quality and oyster growth data they collected have served as inputs to Farm Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM) model simulations that estimate the nutrient removal potential of farmed oysters in the bay. Bricker and Parker also discussed how they used FARM to estimate the economic value of the nutrient removal.
Although no current nutrient credit trading program is actively trading credits within Maryland’s portion of Chesapeake Bay, the presentation emphasized the potential value that might be paid as compensation to oyster growers for the ecosystem service provided by the oysters on their farms. While compensation is not currently an option, the nutrient removal capacity could be used for marketing purposes. Approximately 100 oyster growers, watermen, and researchers attended the presentation.